Preview and best bets for live BT Sport MMA action

Will Dean looks ahead to this weekend’s UFC 284, which will be headlined by a potential classic between Alexander Volkanovski and Islam Makhachev.

MMA Betting Tips: UFC 284

3 points Islam Makhachev wins by TKO/KO or assist on 5/6 (Paddy Power, Betfair)

2 points Justin Tafa vs. Parker Porter to decide on 8/13. (Paddy Power, Betfair)

1pt Parker Porter wins by decision on 7/2 (Paddy Power, Betfair)

0.5 points Alonzo Menifield wins by TKO/KO in round one 6/1 (bet365)

Skybet Odds | Paddy power | Betfair Sportsbook

UFC matchmakers have been treating their loyal fanbase lately, with a whole host of big-name bouts already slated for 2023. Last week’s announcement that Conor McGregor was set to return to the Octagon certainly grabbed all the headlines, but pay-per views featuring Leon Edwards v Kamaru Usman, Israel Adesanya v Alex Pereira and Jon Jones v Ciryl Gane should also keep fight fans excited for the inspire coming months.

Despite such big names waiting in the wings, no fight is as big as Saturday night’s headliner at UFC 284, when the #1 and #2 pound-for-pound contenders go head-to-head in a rare champion-vs-champion compete against each other.

The crown is heavy

Alexander Volkanovsky and ISLAM MACHACHEV are undoubtedly two of the most talented MMA fighters to ever set foot in the Octagon.

With both men on winning streaks of 22 and 11 bouts, respectively, there aren’t many opponents left who pose a reasonable challenge to the UFC’s light-weight champions. Therefore, when Makhachev picked up the belt from Charles Oliveira last October, the organization saw fit to immediately book a superfight with Volkanovski.

While the idea of ​​pitting dominant champions against one another has always been romanticized in MMA, the reality is that it rarely comes about – and with good reason. If a fighter has to make the sacrifice of adding or dropping 10 or more pounds, they will no doubt be at a significant disadvantage. In the case of Volkanovski, whose short and stocky build is actually below featherweight average, competing 10 pounds heavier in lightweight will certainly act as a handicap.

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Stylistically, too, the size difference plays directly into Makhachev’s hands. The Dagestani’s game is all about physicality and once he’s able to ground Volkanovski, this fight should go as the odds indicate. The Aussie can use his speed to dodge Makhachev’s attempts to force the fight to the ground, but without proven finishing ability, putting the featherweight champion through that for 25 minutes seems like a tall order.

Makhachev has gained a lot more confidence in his finishing abilities over the past few years and I assume he’s looking to demonstrate his dominance similar to his win over Oliveira.

The TKO or submission might not present itself to the Russian right away, but his physicality against a smaller opponent should ultimately pay off. Support Makhachev wins by TKO/KO or submission at a touch of odds is therefore the best bet for the legendary main event of UFC 284.

Porter’s endurance

Despite the recent release of former heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou over contract disputes, the UFC’s 265-pound division has never looked healthier or more promising in its top 15 rankings. With Jon Jones and Ciryl Gane set to fight for the belt in March, and Tom Aspinall, Sergei Pavlovich and Jailton Almeida claiming wins, it looks like the division is set to deliver some exciting fights in the near future.

Unfortunately, the gap between the elite of the weight class and their lower tier is significant, with a large portion of the unranked roster having little to offer other than early knockout power. The UFC’s infatuation with heavyweights means these types of fighters consistently earn spots on the main cards, but those same names often don’t deliver a highlight reel finish, instead producing a tepid and lethargic 15-minute hitting show with no action to speak of.

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Key card features of UFC 284 Parker carrier and Justin Tafa, both of whom are guilty of failing to deliver knockouts in their UFC careers to date. The latter is clearly a strong hitter, but his height and general cardio aren’t capable of sustaining the power consistently over a 15-minute period. Porter, on the other hand, prioritizes volume over raw power and seeks to minimize risk by extending his fights over time.

With one fighter having a limited window of opportunity and the other in no rush to score a stoppage, I can’t understand why the odds makers are so confident that this fight shouldn’t require the judges. Of their 10 combined UFC fights, Porter and Tafa have only had two stoppage wins combined – both by knockouts by Tafa in under two minutes.

There will therefore be some risk as this fight goes into round two, but I expect the overall pace and potential for an ending to drop drastically.

With that in mind, a bet on the FIGHTING TO GO THE DISTANCE at 13/8 is certainly appealing. For an extra bet, Porter clearly proved to be the more reliable fighter in a 15-minute fight, so he supports PORTER WINS BY DECISION is also an eye-catcher when it comes to odds.

Atomic Alonzo

The main card begins with an exciting break in style between Jimmy Crute and ALONZO MENFELDtwo up-and-coming light heavyweight contenders hoping to break into the top 10 with a decisive win.

Crute will fight in front of a home crowd for the fourth time in his UFC career, looking to end a two-fight losing streak suffered by Anthony Smith and new champion Jamahal Hill.

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In both bouts, Crute seemed more than happy to smack his opponents, giving up the wrestling and grappling skills that had previously brought him so much success.

It is well known in MMA that as a young fighter with a grappling background develops their quick wits, they have the potential to fall in love with the ‘sweet science’ and reinvent themselves completely, with most cases ending badly as a result .

Should Crute follow a similar path, he could have serious problems against Menifield on Saturday night as the American is a fearsome physical specimen with the power and accuracy to end the fight in the blink of an eye.

However, Menifield has its own flaws, especially in the cardio department. In a similar case to the Tafa mentioned above, Atomic is very offensive on offense and struggles to put on a coherent performance over 15 minutes. He will initially have good takedown defense in the opening round, but the longer the fight goes on, the more he favors his opponent.

This fight is therefore confusing since Crute is the absolute better martial artist of the two, but Menifield seems to have the more realistic, albeit narrower, path to victory.

If the fight goes beyond the first round, the Aussie is likely to reach the level his betting line suggests, but Menifield certainly has a real shot at causing the commotion if he has time to strike early. A little flutter on MENIFIELD WINS ROUND 1 is the recommendation.

Posted at 1310 GMT on 9/2/23

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